ANGEL WITCH - ‘Angel of Light’ (2019)

18 November 2019
ANGEL WITCH - ‘Angel of Light’ (2019)
  • Лейбъл: Metal Blade/Wizard
  • Издаден: 2019
  • Aвтор: Стефан Йорданов-Стифф
  • Оценка:

ANGEL WITCH’s influence and legacy has been well documented over the last 40 years, ever since the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (better known as NWOBHM) first broke out. While the term itself was a media invention, coined by the then UK popular weekly newspaper ‘Sounds’ after the ‘Heavy Metal Crusade’ gig at ‘Music Machine’ (Now ‘Koko’) in London featuring SAMSON, IRON MAIDEN and ANGEL WITCH, the movement had and still has a cult following. It has been considered a somewhat original spawn of all things metal that came out later, be it speed, thrash, black and even death metal. 

Now ANGEL WITCH’s sound is markedly a bit darker, heavier, doomier even than any of their contemporaries, barring bands like WITCHFYNDE, BLITZKRIEG and VENOM which makes it no wonder why some of the earliest extreme metal acts such as CELTIC FROST and POSSESSED praised them throughout their career. Being huge fans, Mustaine and Ellefson basically implemented the whole formula in MEGADETH

Unfortunately, constant line-up changes (there was even a brief period when the sole founding member and mastermind of ANGEL WITCH, Kevin Heybourne moved to San Francisco and worked with various members of EXODUS, LAAZ ROCKIT and HEATHEN but got deported shortly) and bad luck prevented the band from getting bigger. 

Kevin and ANGEL WITCH returned with a very decent and comprehensive album ‘As Above, So Below’ 7 years ago, did a great gig here in Sofia, went through even more line-up changes and are now coming back with a brand-new release, called ‘Angel of Light’.

Technically accomplished, with a great guitar work from Heybourne, it is also razor sharp and diamond hard. Fascinatingly, the steely riffs and guitar harmonies of ‘We Are Damned’ and ‘I Am Infamy’ intertwine with Kevin’s matured voice that has always been a subject of criticism, hence considered the weakest spot of ANGEL WITCH. ‘Condemned’ is reminiscent of band’s earliest legendary stuff like ‘Sorcerers’ and ‘Loser’ and ‘Don’t Turn Your Back’ is easily the best heavy metal song released this year. While the previous album was a little diffuse and probably provoking for the diehards, stylistically ‘Angel of Light’ is not too different from the iconic self-titled debut released back in 1980. You can say that even by looking at the record artwork. And then listen to this mind-blowing final guitar solo at the end of ‘Death from Andromeda’. Isn’t that just amazing? 

In times when most heavy metal is sissy keyboards and pretentious bullshit, it is good to remember that back in the day it was a street, rebellious, working class thing filtered down from hard rock and punk. Forged on the streets of London back in the late 70’s, with this album, ANGEL WITCH proves that what they do is not only still relevant but is also possibly the closest thing to what metal once was and meant to be.